Finding God in Pop Music
The human heart is drawn towards God. It has been said in the past that it is as though God has played a wonderful trick on humans. Not a malicious trick, but one which involved Him keeping a piece of our hearts when He created us. As a result, our hearts are drawn to that missing piece of themselves, like two magnets.
This perhaps explains why, even when humans try their best to run from God and choose sin over He Who is Love, they never fully get God off their mind. Humans want to be loved, they want to love, they simply want love. And so they find their hearts drawn to its missing piece which is held in the Hands of Love Himself.
One example of this is Selena Gomez’s 2019 song “Lose You to Love Me.” While it is likely that Selena Gomez did not intend this song to act as a theological treatise on love, it can show us the relationship between sin, humans, and God. A detailed look at the lyrics helps us to understand the necessity of rebuking sin and Satan in order to truly experience love and the God Who is Love.
The song begins:
“You promised the world and I fell for it
I put you first and you adored it”
This is the nature of sin. We, in our fallen nature, so often place Satan first because he promises us the world, just as he did to Christ when he tempted Christ in the desert. Satan adores this because he knows that God should be the object of our love and not himself.
“Set fires to my forest
And you let it burn
Sang off-key in my chorus
‘Cause it wasn’t yours”
Here we see that, once we give into sin and temptation Satan he uses them to destroy us. He sets fire to our souls––not with the Fire of the Holy Spirit––but with painful hellfire. This fire does not give warmth and light like that of the hearth of our Heavenly home, but rather seeks only to feed its destructive self with agonizing soul after agonizing soul.
This is contrary to the plan of the world. God did not want sin to be part of our life, yet, it is because of the hubris of our First Parents. This stain of original sin sows discord into our chorus. Satan seeks to make his own chorus and his own plan against the Song of Creation that God so beautifully sang so long ago.
“I saw the signs and I ignored it”
We have seen the signs of God’s Love. We have seen the Cross. We know that God “so loved the world that He gave His only Son” for our salvation (Jn 3:16). Yet, despite seeing these signs, our fallen nature still causes us to ignore them, as the song states:
“Rose-colored glasses all distorted”
Sin leads to despair. Hopelessness sets in and our rose-colored glasses of hope are jaded with the evil, sickly tint of green from sin.
“Set fire to my purpose
And I let it burn”
We allow Satan to distort the Way and the Truth of our Life. We allow ourselves to be overcome with despair and to fail to recognize that we were truly made by Love, with Love, for Love.
“You got off on the hurtin’
When it wasn’t yours, yeah”
The sadistic Satan enjoys this. He enjoys watching us suffer in sin. He enjoys the thrill of manipulating our desires into something ugly and twisted rather than allowing them to reflect the truth, beauty, and goodness of God.
Here the refrain begins:
“We’d always go into it blindly”
By sin, we become blind to our choices. We fail to think about our desires and our actions and hastily choose Hell rather than Heaven all because we follow the beckoning of Satan rather than the pull in our heart towards God.
“I needed to lose you to find me”
Thus it is that we come to the heart of Selena Gomez’s song: we must lose Satan to find Love. We must rebuke him and his sins so as to be freed from “slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).
“This dance, it was killing me softly
I needed to hate you to love me, yeah”
Yet it is not just rebuking Satan. Selena points out that it is coming to recognize that this dance, this swaying back and forth between Hell and Heaven, between slavery to sin and freedom in faith, is killing us: it eats away at our soul. We cannot simply push Satan away, but for the love of ourselves,our neighbors, and for love of Love Himself, we must despise sin and Satan who offers it. We must detest all that is unclean and impure and bathe ourselves in the Blood of the Lamb by which, in union with the word of our testimony we can and will conquer Satan (Rev. 12:11).
The second verse:
“I gave my all and they all know it
Then you tore me down and now it’s showing
In two months, you replaced us
Like it was easy
Made me think I deserved it
In the thick of healing, yeah”
Having bathed ourselves in His Precious Blood we will no longer fear Satan but “rejoice…for he [Satan] has but a short time” (Rev 12:12). We will not let him keep us, though we may have given ourselves to him in sin. He has torn us down, beaten, and broken us. And when we are all on the ground, sprawling and useless to him, he will abandon us for new prey, letting us believe that it is our fault and making us hurt even when we begin to heal.
But it is in this moment when we are on the ground, crushed under the weight of sin, that we remember that Love was once crushed under sin too. And that, like Love, we shall be raised up on that Cross of sin, there to show that “love for life did not deter [us] from death” (Rev. 12:11). Instead we shall accept death as He did. And through His death which conquered Death we shall hope to share in a Life of Love with Him in Heaven.
And in this detesting of the Devil we “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). And we do this with Selena’s simple goal, ever in mind:
“To love, love, yeah
To love, love, yeah
To love, yeah”
Patrick Gouker is a sophomore in Knott Hall. He is currently reading Dante’s Inferno and, while he enjoys it, he cannot wait to reach its end. He also can’t wait to reach the end of the semester. Both the end of the Inferno and the end of the semester are entitled: “Exit from Hell.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.